Power-play powers Thunder past Timbermen
Another big game of four goals and eight points from Ryan Martel helped the Langley Thunder edge the Nanaimo Timbermen 10-9 in BCJALL action at Langley Events Centre on Sunday. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photo
Special teams and goaltending are two things commonly mentioned when teams talk about what it takes to win in the postseason. The Langley Thunder displayed both in what felt like a playoff game on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre.
Hosting the Nanaimo Timbermen in BC Junior A Lacrosse League action, the Thunder scored six times on the power play while also surviving playing more than half (10:26) of the second period short-handed, allowing just two goals (only one was officially a power-play goal as the Thunder player had just stepped out of the box as the ball went into the net) during that time in a 10-9 victory.
Officially, the Timbermen power play was three-for-nine on the game while Langley was a lights-out six-for-eight.
“Our penalty kill has been good all year and it bailed us out,” said Langley head coach Dane Dobbie. “And I thought Torin (Van Rheenen) was playing great in the second period. It definitely gave us a little spark there.”
Van Rheenen made 15 of his 39 saves in that middle stanza.
Buoyed by their penalty kill and goaltending in the period, which forced the offensive guys to concentrate more on running down the shot clock to get their defenders some much needed rest, the Thunder offence was razor sharp in the third period, going a perfect 4-for-4 with the man advantage.
“That was a must-win. Season series are very important and we are tied 1-1 now,” Dobbie said of the team’s head-to-head record with the Timbermen. They will play the rubber match in Nanaimo on June 22.
The teams are tied in points as Langley is 8-6 while Nanaimo is 8-4, having played two less games than the Thunder, and the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record.
And both are in the cluster of five teams battling for the BCJALL’s four playoff berths with Coquitlam (10-2, 20 points) sitting first, Victoria (9-4, 18 points) second and New Westminster (7-4, 14 points) and just four weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Thunder own the season series record with Victoria but are 0-2 against New Westminster and 0-1 versus Coquitlam.
In Sunday’s victory, Ryan Martel led the way for the Thunder with four goals and eight points.
He continues leading the league in both with 39 goals and 76 points as well as a league-best 6.3 points per game. He also has three or more goals in five straight games (and six of the last seven) and has scored four or more points in 11 of the dozen games he has played this season.
After the game, he was more interested in talking about the team’s victory rather than his individual accolades.
“The O guys are just starting to gel and we are just running plays, and whoever scores, scores. That is kind of how we run as an offence, we don’t care who is putting them in. If they are going in, that is all that matters,” he said.
Nanaimo held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but was only ahead for a grand total of 1:37. And once Ryan Jones made it 3-2 for the home side with just over five minutes to play in the opening frame, the Thunder held the lead for the rest of the night.
Dylan McIntosh scored twice and added three helpers while Caleb Pearson (one goal, three assists), Connor Watson (one goal, two assists) and Jones (one goal, one assist) also registering multi-point games. Trevayne Hunter rounded out the scoring.
The Timbermen were led by six-point games from both Arthur Miller (two goals, four assists) and Thomas Vaesen (three goals, three assists) while Colton Lidstone and Ryan Sheridan each had a goal and two helpers.
Up next for the Thunder is a road game in Coquitlam on Friday, June 14 as they battle the Adanacs for the second time in eight days. The Adanacs won the first match-up 11-10.
For more information:
Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre, 604.613.5242 (cell), 604.455.8830 (office) or email.